(Reuters) – Chris Hipkins is New Zealand’s 41st prime minister, following the surprise resignation of the charismatic Jacinda Ardern.
Hipkins was chosen by all 64 Labor lawmakers to lead the ruling Labor party before being sworn in by King Charles III’s representative, Governor General Cindy Kiro.
Here are five facts about Hipkin’s life and career:
– Hipkins, who grew up in the Hutt Valley, north of the capital Wellington, said his “parents came from relatively humble beginnings and worked very hard to provide a good life” for him and his brother. He is committed to making sure New Zealanders who want to work hard can get ahead. His focus since he became leader has been on “bread and butter issues” such as the cost of living.
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– Hipkins was a problem solver in the Ardern government and was often hired by her when other cabinet colleagues struggled over their portfolios. Before becoming prime minister, she was minister of education and police. However, it was her role as premier health minister and COVID-19 response minister during the pandemic that made him a household name in New Zealand.
– Known as “Chippy”, the 44-year-old worked for former Prime Minister Helen Clark before being elected to Parliament in 2008. His political roots, however, go back to his high school years, where he was filmed with a Labor Party cockade in an election documentary.
– Hipkins is known in parliament for his sense of humour, including the ability to laugh at himself. An outdoor enthusiast and cycling enthusiast, Hipkins occasionally cycles to the capital, Wellington, from his home in a neighboring town. Separated from his wife, he has two young children whom he said he intends to keep out of public life.
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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